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Arkansas Traveler

An Arkansas Tall Tale 


One rainy autumn, a traveler got lost in the mountains of Arkansas. He was tired and hungry, and so was his horse. Night was approaching. All at once, he saw a cabin. A squatter sat on the porch fiddling the same tune over and over.

The traveler asked the squatter for food and water for himself and his horse. The squatter replied: "Ain’t got a thing in the house."

The traveler asked where the next house was. The squatter said: "Dunno. I ain’t never been there."

The frustrated traveler asked if he could spend the night. The squatter replied: "House leaks. My wife and me sleep on the only dry spot."

"Why don’t you mend the roof?" asked the traveler.

"Can’t mend the roof on a rainy day."

The whole time, the squatter continued to fiddle the same tune, over and over.

The traveler snapped: "Why don’t you finish that tune?"

"Can’t get the turn of the tune."

The traveler took the fiddle, played the turn of the tune and finished it.

"Stranger," said the squatter, "Grab yerself a chair and set down. Sal, cut a hunk outta that deer and cook it. Son, get the whisky and put the horse in the shed. You jest play away, stranger. Tonight, you can sleep on the dry spot!"


You can read more Arkansas folktales in Spooky South by .


S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series published by Globe Pequot Press. She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of “let’s pretend” quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children’s Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author.